The Need for Research Support

Since the first organ transplant in 1954, transplantation has come a long way, but the field still has a long road ahead. With over 30,000 organs transplanted each year1 in the US, the rapid breakthroughs within the science of transplantation has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. These advances wouldn’t have happened without significant investments in medical research.

Not only does research in transplantation and immunology improve the lives of patients facing a transplant, but research in these areas also contributes to the fundamental understanding of immunity to infections like HIV, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and diabetes, and to the blood vessel inflammation that causes heart disease.

State of Funding

Federal support of medical research has to be spread across a wide range of therapy areas like cancer, allergy/immunology and infectious diseases, and organ-specific diseases, along with organ transplantation research. The percentage of funds allocated to transplantation and immunology research has declined in recent years, as funds are spread thinner and thinner to cover more areas.

The need to find alternate sources of funding has never been greater as the research funding landscape becomes bleaker. Part of the AST Research Network’s mission is to help identify these alternate funding sources and connect researchers with the resources they need to continue making organ transplantation a life-long solution.

AST-Supported Research

Since 1995, the AST has been committed to supporting scientists and clinicians in clinical, translational, and basic research in solid organ transplantation. A primary focus has been in awarding career development grants to young investigators. 88% of former AST-supported researchers stayed involved in transplantation research.

The AST Research Network aims to help researchers develop a new generation of medications that are safer and more effective, develop new tests to help doctors optimize medication therapy for each individual patient, and eliminate the chance that the recipient's body will reject an organ.

View past AST-sponsored research


We need the public’s help to build a pool of research funding to continue the great work being done. Organ transplantation touches so many lives – from the recipient and donor family, to the caregiver, and others. It is this transplant community that we need to ask to support research to increase successful transplantations, decrease graft failure, extend organ preservation, and develop new therapies.

To show the AST’s dedication to engaging the transplant community, the Power2Save initiative was recently relaunched with a stronger focus on increasing public awareness around the importance of funding transplant research, donating organs, and advocating for transplant health.

Visit Power2Save

Get Involved

The fastest and most effective way to support the AST Research Network and its projects is by making a donation.

The AST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.